Clashes broke out between protesters against rising fuel prices, the police and the military in all major cities of Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Radio Svoboda reported that more than 200 people were arrested in Almaty. There were attempts to break into the city mayor’s residence. The police responded with sound bombs and tear gas. On the night of Tuesday to Wednesday local time, the President of Kazakhstan, Kassem Omart, Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency there and in the Mangistau region.
Protests continue in Kazakhstan over the high price of liquefied gas, which many residents use to refuel their cars.
On Tuesday, the demonstrators expanded their demands and are now demanding the resignation of the head of the country’s Security Council, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, in their opinion, handed power only to President Kassym Omart Tokayev.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse said police used stun grenades and tear gas against hundreds of protesters who tried to storm the mayor of Almaty, the country’s largest city. A series of explosions was heard near the main town square, where the town hall is located. According to preliminary data, more than 200 people were arrested there. Radio Soboda also reported the arrest of two of its journalists.
In the capital, Nur-Sultan, a large queue passed through the city, chanting: “Old man, leave!” In response, the authorities fired troops and special forces units into the streets, using gas and sound bombs against the protesters. However, the crowd did not disperse in an attempt to occupy the main square of the city.
In the evening, the authorities began blocking the Internet and the mobile phone network across the country. Users have reported problems using almost all social networks, including Telegram and Facebook.
The President declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the Magnesto region
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym Umart Tokayev, declared a two-week state of emergency in the country’s largest city, Almaty and in the Mangistu region, Tuesday evening, Wednesday, local time.
Earlier, the president had ensured that the country’s government would not collapse and warned protesters that calls to attack government and military buildings were illegal. “The government will not collapse, but we are interested in mutual trust and dialogue, not conflict,” he said in a video directed to the nation. He also called on citizens not to give in to “provocations from within and without.”
On Tuesday evening, the authorities announced a partial reintroduction of the cap on liquefied gas prices (to 50 tenge or 46 groszi per liter in the Mangistau region), but this did not appear to pacify the public. In January, the price of liquefied gas in Kazakhstan rose to 120 tenge (1.12 PLN) per liter, while at the beginning of last year it was 38 tenge (0.35 PLN) per liter.
Protests in other cities
Protests also erupted in other cities on Tuesday. In the city of Aktobe in the northwest, drivers broke the police cordon and approached the headquarters of the municipal authorities.
Earlier, in Aktau in the west of the country, where residents of neighboring regions were also withdrawn, demonstrators erected a tent and a tent. At first they demanded a reduction in gas prices, but later their demands extended to eliminating corruption and nepotism, and reducing unemployment, until they finally demanded the resignation of the government.
Several thousand protested in Aktau on Monday. The head of the regional government came to them, but failed to persuade them to secede. Earlier, the country’s president, Kassem Umart, told Tokayev on Twitter that a government commission had begun work in Aktau, and that the demonstrators “must show responsibility and readiness for dialogue.”
According to local residents, about 2,000 people were present in the city’s main square on Tuesday morning. There was a rally at night, at which speakers emphasized that it was unfair for people to demand access to gas in a country rich in resources.
The resignation of the government has also been requested in Karaganda, in the east of the country.
Main image source: Pavel Mikheev / Reuters / Forum
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